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Russian Air Strikes Target Syrian Rebels' Diesel Fuel Market

  • RFE/RL

Syrian monitors say air strikes on a fuel market in a rebel-held village in northern Syria have killed and wounded dozens.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of local groups that report on protests as part of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said the air strikes were carried out by Russian warplanes on December 15 in the village of Maarat al-Naasan.

The leader of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, said the strikes killed and wounded at least 35 people at a market selling diesel fuel brought from areas under the control of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group.

Russia's General Staff said on December 15 that it had carried out 17 air strikes in Syria during the past 24 hours, hitting illegal oil production facilities, which it said were run by "terrorists."

It said six illegal oil production facilities and seven convoys of oil tankers were hit by Russian warplanes during the previous three days.

It also said Russian air strikes have destroyed more than 1,200 oil tankers since late September.

The United States and NATO have said Russia is targeting Western-backed rebel fighters who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime but are also fighting IS militants.

Russia has previously said that all opposition fighters in Syria are "terrorists."

But the Russian General Staff on December 15 acknowledged that there are 150 anti-Assad groups fighting against IS militants that have contributed to the Syrian government's battle against the IS group.

With reporting by AP